Squashes are tender, sweet, and quick-growing. What’s not there to like? Growing squashes in your gardening is a rewarding activity. You get access to a variety of vegetables that can elevate your meals. It’s certainly a better alternative to low-nutrient meals.
There are some nuances you need to follow when it comes to growing them. It’s easier than you think though. At the peak season, you get multiple squashes each day. You can eat, store, or give them to your friends and family! No matter which type you settle on the harvest offers a big boost to your pantry.
Here’s a quick guide.
Tips on How to Grow Squash
There are two types of squash- summer and winter squash. The best time to plant summer squash is right after the winter frost goes by. The latter should be planted in the middle of summer. All the plants need some space. So make sure they’re at least three feet apart.
Another thing you need to pay attention to is the soil. It must be rich in nutrients and well-drained. So make sure you add compost or organic matter for the best results. Squash plants need to get sunlight for at least six hours.
Also, adding up to 1.5 inches of water will be your best bet. They need constant moisture but you can’t wet the leaves. Once they grow to an acceptable size, you can harvest them easily!
Difference Between Summer Squash and Winter Squash
As stated earlier, there are primarily two types of squash.
Summer squash plants tend to grow quickly. They take roughly around a month to fully grow. This variety is harvested throughout the season. The skin is tenderer too. The most common type of summer squash is zucchini. These tend to grow in abundance.
Winter squash takes more time though. It could take from two to four months. They have rich, beautiful colors. The skin is thicker and harder. This makes them stronger too. So you can store them longer. Pumpkin and butternut are two of the most common winter squash plants.
Now that you know the key differences, let’s take a look at the most common types of squash.
Types of Squash
What sort of harvest do you want? A quick one? A long but promising one? Are you considering your own Halloween pumpkin? The type of squash you want to grow in your garden is your personal choice. It’s best to learn about the different varieties before planting the seeds. Let’s take a look.
If you want something quick but delicious, this is your best bet. You need to consume it within two to three months after harvesting. It tends to have green skin with occasional orange tinges. The flesh is yellow or orange. Also, make sure each seed is planted at least two feet away. They won’t sustain otherwise.
These vine-like plants take a fair amount of space. If stored properly, you can store it for a long time. It has a nice sweet potato texture! You can make a rich mash, soup, or puree out of it.
This winter squash has interesting skin. It’s creamy yellow with random green stripes. The vegetable is typically used as stuffing. You can roast it to bring out the flavors too. The best part? It takes up little space in the garden. So you don’t have to worry about it mingling with others.
Hubbards are an excellent addition to any garden. Not only does it come in veritable shapes and sizes, but also wonderful colors. You can store this for up to six months!
This is the best squash for baking pies and sweet soups. It’s typically used in desserts. The skin isn’t strong enough to make a jack o’ lantern although some like making small ones out of it.
This prolific squash is a staple in most gardens. Its versatile nature shines through in dishes too. You can stir-fry it to have it with grilled chicken. Or you can make a flavorful curry out of it. You can even make faux pasta dishes out of it!
Things to Consider While Growing Squash
Squash plants love their space. They spread out while growing so you need to check whether the seeds are bush or vine plants. There’s an easy way to grow squashes. You can simply transplant them. It’s best to grow them from seeds though. Some of these plants can’t recover from being moved.
The soil you plant in should be slightly acidic. The pH range should be 6.0 to 6.8. Don’t worry though. Squash plants can thrive in soils with pH levels as low as 5.5. Squash plants need one inch of water each week. Make sure to water more frequently in the dry season though.
Every garden crop is susceptible to pests. Even squashes. Vine borers tend to deprive the plants of moisture. Wilting leaves are a sign of concern too. Some squash plants have marks on the bottom. This is the result of staying in wet grass or soil too much. You can add a board or plastic piece to avoid the problem.
If you think the plants are shriveling up before maturing, you probably need to plant flowers in your garden. Why? It’s a sign of lack of pollination. Squash plants need pollen to sustain themselves.
There are also ways to ripen your squashes quickly. Remove the smaller pieces early on. The plants will redirect their energy to a select few. So you can get a few larger plants, instead of several underwhelming sizes.
You now know how to grow squash plants! The process isn’t so hard, is it? All you need to do is select your choice of squash and find the appropriate seeds. These plants require minimal effort but offer the heartiest outcome. What’s stopping you from planting your first squash seeds? Get started today!